A closer look at Amendment 3

A closer look: Amendment 3

On this year’s ballot, voters will decide on four proposed amendments to the Georgia state constitution.
They include Amendment 3, which would overhaul the state's Judicial Qualifications commission.

The commission has been in place since the 1970s and oversees judges' work on the bench and their ability to serve.

The amendment would give the General Assembly total control of who's on the commission.

Currently, that power is divided between the governor, who appoints two citizens, the state bar, who appoints three people, and the state Supreme Court, who appoints two people.

David Oedel, a Mercer law professor, says the commission's goal is to get rid of unfit judges. Some legislators don't agree with all of the decisions the commissions made in recent years that's the reason for the vote.

“What may happen is with the legislature in charge of oversight of the judges, it may become even more politicized so we end up with kind of an ironic situation where one kind of politicization leads arguably to another politicization,” Oedel said.


He gave us his take on Amendment 3.

“If you want the legislature politicizing things and you want to have the legislature looking over the shoulder of the judiciary, then vote 'yes,' or do you want the judiciary to be independent and supervise themselves? Then vote, 'no,'” Oedel said.

In the past ten years, the Commission has been responsible for the removal of 70 judges.

Amendment 3 would also give due process to judges who go before the commission, something that currently isn't established. 


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